Zoning History

Zoning as conceived in the United States began in the 1920s. Zoning is the division of a Municipality or County into districts for the purpose of regulating the use of land. These zoning districts are usually shown on a map. Within each of these districts, the text of the Zoning Ordinance specifies the permitted uses, the density and bulk of the buildings, required yards, setbacks, required off-street parking, and other requisites to obtain permission to develop. The principal objective is to ensure that commercial and industrial development is segregated from residential areas. Although this concept has been subject to enormous stress over the last five decades, the basic foundation of most zoning ordinances today retains the design pioneered by those original regulations.

Zoning is an expression of the police power, the power to regulate activity by private persons for the health, safety, morals, and general welfare of the public. That power, under our federal system, rests with the State Legislatures. Authority to utilize zoning to regulate the development of private property is delegated to counties, cities, and townships, by the States.

The rules of the Zoning Ordinance are derived from the Comprehensive Land Use Plan. This plan provides Waseca County with a review of how the county has grown and changed over the years and discusses potential future trends and issues with respect to future growth, development and change. The Comprehensive Land Use Plan also set forth policies which are the basis for decision making with respect to future growth, land use, natural resources, economic development, public and community facilities, and infrastructure.

The Waseca County Unified Development Code (UDC) Zoning Ordinances was adopted in August, 2009. The UDC combines the counties zoning, subdivision, shoreland, sign, adult use, feedlot and other requirements relating to land use into one document. The UDC includes the Zoning Map for Waseca County. Information regarding setbacks, accessory structures, and other standards is also contained in this ordinance.

The County Zoning Office has zoning jurisdiction in all of the townships in Waseca County outside of city limits.

For zoning information within city limits, please contact the individual cities of Janesville, New Richland, Waldorf and (City of) Waseca.